As soon as we’ve arrived in Colombo, we went for a drive of 7 hours to reach Minneriya National Park to do the safari. It seems to me like whoever did our itinerary had a personal vendetta against one of us and wanted us to suffer. You see, we took an early morning flight out of Dubai which basically left us with no sleep at all, probably 2 hours the maximum. Then upon arrival in Colombo, we drove for 7 hours before going on a safari which lasted for about 2 hours more. That’s just plain torture isn’t it? No wonder one of us started getting sick on our way to our hotel after the safari. Needless to say, never ever do the safari as soon as you’ve arrived in Sri Lanka. Unless you’re a masochist.
We arrived at Minneriya National Park at around 4pm which I think is the best time to do the safari as it’s no longer very hot. Once we’ve entered the park, we drove through a jungle for quite some time. In my head I was thinking, “well that’s just great isn’t it? All these drive and we won’t see a single elephant.”
But then it opens up to a huge plain and we started spotting some elephants here and there.
Minneriya National Park is a dry season feeding ground for Asian elephants in this area. The best time to go is during the dry months of August to October in which the elephants migrate to this park for the water reservoir that it has. It recorded about 700 elephants at a time during the migration season. We went during April and there was still quite a herd of elephants bathing and playing in the park even during this off season.
Now for some people this may not be worth it all as you will basically just see elephants and some birds – at most. I read that if you’re lucky, you might even spot a fox or water buffalos. I have done a Kenyan safari in Tsavo East National Park so that probably adds up to the disappointment that I felt when I was in Minneriya. However I can definitely say that the kids will love this park to get an up close and personal experience with an Asian elephant. Nature lovers and bird watchers will probably enjoy it just as much.
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[…] When in Sri Lanka, skip the elephant orphanage and go see them in their natural habitat in one of the many national parks of the island. The two most popular places to see them are Udawalawe and Minneriya National Park. […]
I think you cannot really compare African national parks with those of Sri Lanka or India, but these vast herds of Asian Elephants are definitely spectacular!! 🙂
That’s very true. I shouldn’t have compared it to the safari in Africa but I don’t know, I just can’t help it. I still enjoyed it though. 🙂